Two twin pushers battle it out in an overly dramatic Saturday sky.
The 2019 Marion annual HAFFA free flight contest ended on a positive note Sunday October 6 when the sun popped out of the clouds with light winds out of the North.
Earlier in the week we were not sure if the contest would happen due to wet weather issues. Several flyers from Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma as well as the Wichita crew made the journey to Marion along with the HAFFA contingent from the KC area. Most Flyers ended up staying at the Country Inn Motel and hanging out Friday night with the obligatory cocktail hour at one end of the hotel.
Bill Schmidt with his Crusader. A beautiful plane as expected.
Bill Schmidt and Marilyn had set up the picnic table at the south end of the motel with flyers arriving Friday evening around 4:30 p.m. It was reasonably cool Friday evening… drinks were swilled as all the Flyers swapped model flying stories. For me this is one of the perks of the contest!
Due to limited Friday night dinner options everyone headed to the Pizza Hut in nearby Hillsboro Kansas 16 miles west of Marion. We were lucky. The Hillsboro Pizza Hut had a back conference room available for a large group. The flyers commandeered the room and we had great fellowship and lively discussions.
Saturday morning greeted the modelers with rain showers. Lucky for us a new Cafe in Marion had opened for breakfast in the former Pizza Hut at the north end of town. The new cafe had a good Midwestern breakfast which included biscuits and gravy, fried eggs and pancakes. We were met by our local airport liaison Dick McClendon at 6:30am. Dick had been monitoring the field conditions for us during the week at the airport. Luckily before the week of miserable weather had started the airport grass runway surfaces were bone dry. The rain forecast did not evolve to the amounts of moisture that had been predicted. Saturday morning we probably got an accumulation of 1/2 inch of rain. By 7:30 we made it out to the Flying Field ready to go.
Braden Powell added a welcome touch to the atmosphere with is guitar playing.
The flyers all met in the airport office and showed airplane models while we waited for the rain to quit. During weather issues at a contest it does become a social event with modelers able look over each other’s airplanes. During this down time we got people signed up for the contest and the AMA paperwork filled out.
This provides a good time for new flyers to learn about set-up and trimming assistance to people new to the Hobby. Chuck Powell and I discussed this aspect of a weather delay. During competition it is more difficult to have these discussions because when it comes to catching thermals the small talk is difficult to fit in during competition.
Tim Pivonka getting ready to fly his Albatros D-III Oeffag
The photos of an actual real plane this model was modeled after had a similar name to Tim’s last name hand painted on the side, so Tim decided to substitute his instead. I guess there’s no dispute now to who owns this scale model!
Tom Bell drove all the way from Houston with his van-load of airplanes ready to roll. It was clear that windy conditions did not bother these large glow powered airplanes which fly quite well in gusty conditions. Gerald Brown made it from the Longview, Texas area. He brought a ton of airplanes as well. Another well-seasoned flyer from West Des Moines, Iowa named Richard Arland showed up as well with at least a half a dozen Hoosier Kitty catapult launch gliders ready to roll. Richard had also had brought two Jewel box E36 planes and p30s with GPS trackers ready and charged for flight.
Rick’s brother who lives in Overland Park, Kansas brought his grandson along as well. Uncle Richard was able to teach the finer points of catapult launch glider flying. Hopefully this youngster will become a good flyer in the future.
Chuck Powell getting ready to launch his Jet Cat B-57
Chuck Powell and Linda brought their family. This Marion contest is a great family affair complete with grandkids that fly models! Chuck’s daughter in-law even cooked breakfast and pancakes for everyone while we were waiting for the rain to stop. This was really appreciated. Chuck’s grandkids Braden and Damien are junior competitors that fly P-30 and Cat launched glider. Its great to see these kids year after year.
Bike Basta preparing for the launch of his Tow Line Glider.
Note his low AMA # 9507.
The rain subsided slightly before noon. Mike Basta got on his motorcycle and checked out the field to determine how soft the soil and grass conditions were going to be. I personally walked out to the center of the grass runways, which were still hard enough to support a vehicle and not leave ruts. Around noon the sun was visible in the distance and the cloudy skies began to disperse. Bob Hanford checked out the field as well and due to the changing wind conditions we headed to the northwest corner of the field. By the time we had got set up the wind had shifted from the south to the north. It was a good thing that we had positioned our tents and flight line in the northwest corner.
This contest proved to be a real scheduling challenge for the mass launch events. It was determined on Saturday there would be no way to fly the FAC events due to the wind speed during this Saturday afternoon session. The FAC events were all re-scheduled to Sunday.
Phil Burris getting ready for one of his many successful flights
including 6 first place wins for the weekend.
Sunday turned out to be much better flying from early morning to late afternoon. The Sunday flying was extended to 4 pm which is an hour later than we usually fly for the last day of the contest.
At 4 pm I activated a pathetic air horn to end the 2019 contest. While everyone cleaned up… Cheryl and Roie Black loaded up the score sheets in the back of their SUV and we headed to the office to tally up the scores. Mike Basta and Jeff Nisley caught up and helped sort and stack the scores while Cheryl sorted the points and reviewed the score cards. Cheryl had helped during both days monitoring the score table. Cheryl helped with all the scoring, processing and counting up all the points for the Marion cup. This was Cheryl Black’s first outdoor contest I believe. She handled everything quite well. Cheryl is a retired CPA and of course has lots of attention to detail. It turns out that keeping track of the scoring and running the event table took more time than I had imagined. I would not have been able to pull all this off without her help.
Cheryl’s husband Roie was able to start flying P-30 again after a long hiatus from his aerospace and computer work. Roie worked for two decades running the CRAY super computers and finished up teaching college computer science in Austin. It was great to see him fly that P-30.
Dick McClendon handing the Marion Cup to contest winner Chuck Powell
Dick McClendon once again presented Chuck Powell with the Marion Cup! Chuck will have another cup to place in his trophy room! The Wichita club cleaned up. Phil Buress had 6 wins as well out of the 18 competitor- flyers total.
Below is a photo link with 200 photos of the event.
HAFFA Oct 5,6 Contest
Thanks to all that came to the contest!
In addition I would like to thank the following:
I would like to thank Jeff Nisley for doing a bang-up job on printing the awards. Jeff and I and Dana had several business meetings at the local Dairy Queen during the past few months related to the contest. Nisley did a wonderful job and spent a lot of time putting these awards together as well as setting up the score cards and score sheets. This took considerable time. His efforts are much appreciated. Several of the Flyers gave the scorecard nice compliments.
Knowledgeable and good natured Jeff Englert enjoying the meet
I would also like to thank Jeff Englert of the (Wichita Historical Aircraft Modelers Club) for running the FAC events. I know we thank him every year… however I realized at the contest he has done this for a decade now…. assisting the HAFFA club run the FAC events. Jeff was one of the earliest flyers on the field each day and was very instrumental in pulling off the coordination of the FAC events. I should also mention that Jeff Englert is a walking encyclopedia of model airplane rule book details. He is very cognizant of all types of things going on at a contest keeping track of people chasing models and people staying out of the way of real airplanes. He gave me pointers and safety reminders during the day when things appear to start to not go the way they should…. relative to the flying conditions and flight line distance associated with run-away models and vehicles. (I really appreciated the awareness.)
Grant Carson in “Winding Mode” as Jeff Englert looks on
As usual Gretchen did a fantastic job with hot meals for both days. Saturday she brought a large pan of lasagna. That really hit the spot. Everyone went away quite satisfied…. along with fantastic dessert and turnovers. Sunday worked out great as well…a large pot of chili arrived at noon. Excellent! We all ate our fill! Our flyers would like to thank her from the bottom of our hearts for doing this for all these years! Big thanks to Gretchen! During the contest she lined up the Saturday night meal for all the flyers over at Florence, Kansas which I really appreciated.
I would also like to thank Mike Basta for coaching me through my first outdoor contest as the primary CD. I have a new appreciation for this position for sure. Last spring we were able to spend several lunch meetings together during weekdays…. as Mikes house is a few blocks from where I work. Mike was organized and was able to get me started on how to coordinate this effort through the AMA system. Mike was able to fly more models for a change. He had definitely recouped from his health issues and is definitely back in shape and ready to compete again next year.
In summary I would like to thank all the flyers that attended and their patience with the weather conditions and all the communications via email leading up to the contest week. Again I would like to thank everyone for a successful contest and am looking forward to seeing everyone next year!